"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, June 10, 2016

European Odyssey Comes to an End

European Odyssey 24x30 oil on canvas

 The finished painting - I wanted to celebrate our trip in a painting that showed the exuberance and joy of our experience together as a family.

And some final photos of the magical city of Rome to share with you:

Ruins of the Roman Forum with rose garden in full bloom!

Piazza del Popolo with the Leonardo da Vinci Museum

The Vatican inner courtyard

Laocoon - what an amazing sculpture. I was mesmerized by the strength and emotion of this piece.

Some "marble taxidermy "and one of the most interesting rooms of sculpture in the Vatican Museum!

The Hall of the Muses

Raphael Room in the Apostolic Castle

The Sistine Chapel - what a masterwork it is! Much more impressive than any photo could ever show!

Entry to St. Peter's Basilica

The Pieta- sublimely beautiful and most definitely the highlight of the trip for me.

Inside St. Peter's

Bernini sculpture

Doorway relief sculpture

Inside the Tomb of the Popes underneath the Basilica - no photos allowed :0!

On this trip, our European odyssey, I saw and experienced things that I never dreamed or imagined. Upon returning home, I felt an overwhelming connection to the people of the past and to the history of mankind through the ages. This feeling came more through my experiences of living in the ancient cities for a time and sharing their cultures than it did from antiquities in a museum or a church. I found that people are open and friendly, are eager to share their own stories and to make connections. On the last day in Amsterdam before our long flight home, I had a chance to meet up with a Scottish friend of mine that I had not seen in almost 30 years. Seeing Gwen and her husband and introducing her to my family was perhaps the best ending that such a magical trip could ever have had.

Friday, June 3, 2016

On the Easel - and Rome!

Untitled / 24 x 30 / oil on canvas
 Still on the easel - this is at least the third painting on this particular canvas - the other two being wipe offs. I wonder if I will keep this one......

And then there was Rome! What a magnificent city - so ancient and so new. I loved every minute of exploring it. This is the lobby of the Marriott Grand Flora Hotel with hundreds of tennis balls hanging from the ceiling - we discovered that the Italian Tennis Open was being played in Rome the week we were there. We had a magnificent room - complete with feather mattress on the bed and balcony over looking the Borghese Villa and gardens. I had no trouble falling asleep in Rome!

Marriott Grand Flora Hotel - Rome

 The daytime view from our balcony overlooking the Borghese ruins. The Vatican was not far in this direction also and the American Embassy was a short walk down the street. It was a perfect location.

Some incredible churches that we happened upon as we explored Rome - we saw so many - each one more beautiful than the last.

Church interior with mass in progress

Church with gorgeous life size wooden crucifixion carvings

A not atypical church entry
 The Pantheon is in such perfect condition you would think it was built yesterday however it was completed by the Emperor Hadrian in about 125 AD. The rotunda is resplendent with sculptures and art work and is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete done. The Pantheon is still actively used as a church with masses held every Sunday and has also functioned as a tomb. I was surprised to learn that the painter Raphael, 2 Italian kings and a queen are all buried here.

The Pantheon - under the rotunda

Inside the Pantheon

Roman rooftops
 Our next stop was the Colosseum. We spent several hours there exploring and wondering about the intricate Roman engineering that allowed it to function. Not only did it house the gladiators and many very large, wild animals beneath the main arena - there were very sophisticated mechanisms for moving them about and up to the arena. And did you know that it was occasionally flooded and ships held mock battles there? It was an almost inconceivable drainage system that allowed this to occur.

My family and I at the Colosseum  - typical tourists!

The Colosseum held over 50,000 people and it was not hard to imagine the spectacles that unfolded here.

Inside a Roman delicatessen!
What a holiday trip - and more yet to tell you about!